What You Need to Know About Essential Oils

Essential oils have been used for a long time in different cultures for all medicinal and health purposes, and they can be made from a lot of different types of plants. These oil-based aromatics are often derived from different kinds of plant parts.

These oils can either be used by themselves or as a base for a perfume, and are often either topically applied on the skin or inhaled as a fragrance (this makes them widely used for aromatherapy).

While they have been used for as early as five or six thousand years ago, earlier methods of making are quite different than the ones we have now. Today, many producers of essential oils focus on the purity of the oil extracts.

Plants Used for Essential Oils
A lot of different plants are used for their essential oils, which contain these medicinal and health properties, for medical and hygienic purposes. Here are a few of them:

• Lavender – Lavender extracts are great for relieving stress, anxiety, and mental fatigue, as well as for treating bruises and stretch marks
• Peppermint – Used for nausea, vertigo, headaches, and even for exhaustion
• Tea tree – Extracts from this plant can be used for disinfectant and for treating skin blemishes, as well as acne.

How Essential Oils Are Extracted
Essential oils are taken by distilling plants whose oils can have certain therapeutic properties. The process uses different parts from different kinds of plants, such as roots, leaves, stems, and even the flowers and tree bark.
The result of distilling is a highly concentrated amount of the plant’s oils, which has both the fragrance and the properties of the plant itself, and can be used to treat different conditions in different ways.

The Benefits of Essential Oils
Essential oils have a lot of therapeutic properties that make them great to have at home, whether they are inhaled or applied as a topical ointment, such as:

• Balance hormones – Certain essential oils can do a lot to balance out hormone levels in the body, such as estrogen, testosterone, thyroid, and especially the stress hormone cortisol.

• Boost your immune system – Whether it’s anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, or antifungal, essential oils can help boost your immune system due to the chemical substances in them that can help your body fight off foreign pathogens.

• Improve your digestion – Aside from helping with stomach spasms, indigestion, and diarrhea, essential oils can even help your digestion to make it easier to break down and absorb nutrients that your body needs.

Essential oils can also have stimulating effects and leave you feeling refreshed and energized, which is great if you find yourself tired out and need to get your energy back. They can also improve your cognitive performance, and even lift your mood.

The Different Types of Essential Oils and What They Can Do For You

Essential oils have been used for a long time in different cultures for all medicinal and health purposes, and they can be made from a lot of different types of plants. These oil-based aromatics are often derived from different kinds of plant parts.

These oils can either be used by themselves or as a base for a perfume, and are often either topically applied on the skin or inhaled as a fragrance (this makes them widely used for aromatherapy).

The Benefits of Common Oils
When used properly, essential oils are not just relaxing, but also boost your immune system and relieve headaches and stress that comes after a long day’s work, which makes them great to have for your home or office in Singapore.
What’s even better is that there are all kinds of essential oils made from different plants and can help you with all kinds of health benefits.

Tea Tree Oil
Also known as melaleuca oil, tea tree oil has strong antimicrobial properties and has a long history of being used as an antiseptic in Australia.

When inhaled, tea tree oil does a lot to relieve cough and prevents yeast and fungal infections from growing, and can be applied topically to heal cuts and wounds.

Lavender Oil
Lavender oil is one of the most popular essential oils, and has been known to improve sleep quality and concentration. It also encourages hair to grow for those who are suffering from a type of hair loss called alopecia areata.

Additionally, lavender can be used to fight anxiety and generalized anxiety disorder without having any harmful side effects that could lead it to being abused.

Peppermint Oil
Alleviating digestive problems can call for the use of peppermint oil, which not only alleviates nauseas, headaches, and stomach gases, but also calms the stomach’s smooth muscles and allows the bile to move more freely in the digestive system.

Peppermint oil can also be used to treat symptoms of the HSV-1 virus by acting as a virucide, though more research may be needed for this.

Jojoba Oil
Derived from the seeds of a woody plant native to certain areas in the United States, jojoba seeds can be distilled to make jojoba oil. This essential aromatic oil is often used to help heal wounds faster and reduce symptoms of acne outbreaks.

How You Can Use Essential Oils
Using essential oils after a long day is easy, and there are a lot of ways that you can enjoy it to get the best effects for you.

However, you should keep in mind that more doesn’t always mean better with essential oils because they are highly concentrated extracts of the plant oil. For instance, one drop of peppermint oil is just as strong as twenty-eight cups of peppermint tea.

4 Rules at Work You Can Absolutely Break

Many of us think that we know the secret to career success: always say ‘yes’ to your boss and avoid emotional and personal subjects. Well, think again. Here are four unspoken office rules that are sometimes worth challenging.

1. Avoid Emotional Topics at All Cost
Unless it is non-work related, it should be okay to bring up any problem in the open. Say, you and a n officemate have clashed over a project, resulting to a tension between the two of you. Avoiding the issue may only cultivate the tension and min result may affect your productivity. Talk about it in a professional way by opening up with something like “You seem to disagree with every idea I suggest, and I don’t quite understand why. Did I do anything wrong to upset you?”

2. Only Do Work-Related Tasks
It’s no secret that many people are pursuing a job that isn’t really their passion. So, it is essential to also pursue your interests—both for your creativity at work and happiness in the office. Remember that amazing ideas often sprout when you’re tinkering on something. Plus, hobbies give that sense of calmness, so have a 15-minute cross-stitch break or just listen to your favourite playlist during a coffee break. Once you have relaxed and cleared out your mind for a bit, the answer to a work problem you may have will simply reveal itself.

3. Do What You’re Hired to Do
You may not be hired to make photocopies of documents or encode product details, which you need to complete a task, but no one else would if you won’t go the extra mile. Your boss is constantly looking at the bigger picture, and he’ll admire if you have the initiative to do the same as well. If you focus on doing some small tasks that’s related to your job, you might see things in a better perspective and possibly come up with ideas to help the company.

4. Join Event to Build a Network
Cocktail parties and events can be inefficient for some—not to mention the awkwardness of having to mingle with random people you barely or don’t know at all. Other way around? Build your own network through social media. Get in touch with people who interest you, whether they are in the same industry or not. Retweet some of their posts, strike up a conversation and ask questions by messaging them. From there, it’d be easier to get them to meet you for a coffee or lunch—where you can connect with them in a real and personal way.

These four work rules and the ways to challenge them generally work, but may not be applicable to every situation. It still depends on personal choices, the factors present in the situation and the necessary things you need to do to get to a place you want the most career-wise.

6 Breathtakingly Beautiful Natural Pools in the World

With the scorching heat of the sun here in Singapore, it’s tempting to go elsewhere to relax and cool off. How about taking a dip into a pool? We’re not talking about the swimming pools we often find in hotels and resorts, but those designed by Mother Nature amidst the glorious natural backdrops.

1. The Devil’s Pool (Africa)
Nestled on the edge of the world’s largest waterfalls the Victoria Falls, the Devil’s Pool is intimidating as it is enticing. However, it’s impossible to go there on your own. You need to go through tour organizers as you will need someone to lead the way.

2. Grotta Della Poesia (Italy)
This stunning turquoise sinkhole sits on the Adriatic Coast. The contrast of the clear turquoise waters contained in a rugged surroundings creates an extraordinary feel and look to this mesmerizing destination. There’s also an underground cave here that leads you back to the ocean.

3. Dudu Blue Lagoon (Dominican Republic)
Does swimming in a 100-feet deep clear cobalt blue pool sounds like a perfect getaway for you? Then head to Dudu Blue Lagoon, located in the northern coast of Dominican Republic. This natural pool also boasts numerous underwater caves, making it an ideal destination for scuba divers.

4. Cenote Ik Kil (Mexico)
You can find so many cenotes (natural swimming holes) in Mexico, but there’s none quite like Ik Kil. Located near the ruins of Chichen Itza in Yucatan Peninsula, this 85-feet deep cenote hides in the middle of rainforests, lush trees and handing vines.

5. Havasu Falls (Arizona)
In a place chock-full of natural splendour, Havasu Falls stands out. This blue-green waterfalls is so stunning that it is basically made to be Instagrammed. However, getting there is not as easy as you think. Only those who are willing to hike 10 miles will get to experience this Arizona marvel.

6. Blue Lagoon (Iceland)
A God-given treasure to Iceland, Blue Lagoon gives you a spa-like experience in a bigger, better and more natural way. This naturally heated pool with mineral salts, blue-green algae and fine silica mud will not only relax you but also nourishes and exfoliates your skin. Apart from this beauty benefit, the place is just enormous and truly spectacular.

Let these destinations convince you to dive into the waters. Instead of heading to just another ordinary swimming pool, these natural beauties provide more than just cooling off from the hot and humid weather.

Grooming Kit Essentials for Men

Feel confident all the time with these grooming kit essentials that you should carry in your bag wherever you are.

Comb or Brush
Find a comb that can easily fit in your bag’s pocket for convenience or a brush that will work with curly hair. Stylists recommend a comb with both coarse and fine teeth for precision, or boar hair bristles for the brush that are gentle on the scalp.

Nail File and Clippers
If you don’t have time to get your manicure and pedicure done, you should bring a compact nail grooming kit with you that includes a nail clipper, tweezers, and nail file.

Razor
Some people have hair that grow so fast that they have to shave once every two days. If you’re one of those people, you should always take a safety razor or an electric razor in your bag. You never know when you need to meet a client or attend a meeting late in the day. Some shaving kits come with extra razor blades, shaving cream, and shaving brush for convenience.

Tissue or Moist Towelettes
What if you need to freshen up but the restroom is a mile away? Even if you do manage to reach the restroom when you have an upset stomach, there might not be enough paper towels for you to use, that is why you should always be prepared for the worst. Moist towelettes can be used as substitute to clean your hands, while compact tissues can be used to wipe oil, sweat or dirt from your face.

Toothbrush and Toothpaste
You’ll never know if you will be invited by a client to have dinner or your friends to party after office hours, so you should always bring a compact toothbrush and toothpaste in your bag. Purchase a toothbrush that comes with a removable cap or a plastic receptacle for easy storage. If you can, you should also bring a mouthwash and floss.

Shower Gel and Facial Wash
If you travel a lot, you need to take a pouch containing all the essential toiletries, including a shower gel for easy use. It’s more practical than taking a bar of soap for bathing or washing. The facial wash is also essential especially if you need to spend more hours at work or outdoors, because it will help keep your face clean and oil-free whenever you’re dealing with a client or customer.

Who says only women should carry around grooming essentials? If you want to stay fresh, clean, and presentable all day, it’s important to bring grooming items wherever you go. You don’t need a large bag to make all of these fit, because you can purchase compact travel kits with all the essentials you will need for a challenging day at work.

How to Find and Prepare Baby’s First Solid Food

Preparing the baby’s first solid food can be an exciting but stressful time for first-time parents. How do you determine if your baby is ready for solid food? Which food can you safely prepare for your baby? And how will you introduce different solid food?

When to Feed the Baby
Most babies can be given their first solid food between 4 to 6 months. They are supposed to feed on breast milk or formula while still young because they do not have the capacity to chew and swallow solid food yet. Ask your pediatrician for advice when introducing the baby to solid food, because some doctors argue that babies should not be fed yet until they are about 6 months of age.

Your baby will also give you signs that he/she is ready for solid food. He/she might be ready if you see the following signs: baby can keep his/her head steady; baby can sit upright; baby is curious about food; baby has gained weight; and baby can use his/her tongue and mouth properly.

Recommended First Solid Food
If you think your baby is ready to eat his/her first solid food, you should look for food that can be safely digested by baby’s sensitive tummy. Most babies can easily digest pureed single-ingredient solid food, such as squash, potato, banana, pear, peach, avocado, sweet potato, and brown rice cereal. Some doctors also recommend beef or chicken if the baby is still breastfeeding at 6 months.

Do not add salt, sugar, and other ingredients yet. Observe baby’s reaction to food and signs of allergies. Later, you can introduce known allergens, such as wheat, fish, eggs, soy and peanut butter, to determine if baby reacts to any one of them. If a family member, however, is known to be allergic to some food, you should ask the pediatrician about coming up with a feeding plan and blood tests for the baby.

Introducing Solid Food
Most parents start by preparing the food themselves to make sure that there are no additives to the food, although commercial baby food is generally safe if you read the labels properly. Spoon-feed the infant with the puree, limiting each feeding to 1 to 2 teaspoons.

You can also let the baby feed himself/herself by placing the food in front of him/her after nursing or bottle-feeding. Cereals should be diluted and mixed with milk or baby formula when introduced for the first time. If the baby does not seem interested, just let him/her smell it then try again later.

One feeding daily should be enough to allow the baby to practice chewing and swallowing. Remember to place the food in a feeding dish separate from the jar or container of baby food to prevent bacteria from accumulating. Leftovers from the feeding dish should not be stored and open food containers should be disposed one or two days after opening.

7 Treats for Everyone in Singapore with a Sweet Tooth

Most people would agree when we say that there’s nothing a sweet treat can’t cure. It lifts up moods, it’s a good reward after a long day, and it bonds relationships. In short, it’s what life basically is: sweet in just the right amount.

Singapore also has its local sweet indulgences and here’s a list that’s sure to leave you mouth-wateringly searching for your own source of sugar rush.

1. Peanut Paste
Made from what its name suggests, this is a popular dessert in Singapore. Known to have originated from Hong Kong, this treat has other varieties such as walnut paste, almond paste and sesame paste. With its smooth texture, it will give you the sweet boost for a long day.

2. Sago Gula Melaka
Palm sugar or typically known as Gula Melaka in Singapore is paired with sago and coconut milk in this treat. With its rich caramel flavor, it has that right mix of chewiness provided by the sago and the right amount of silkiness courtesy of the coconut milk.

3. Sugee Cake
A dense cake made from samonlina flour, a generous amount of butter, egg yolk and crushed almonds, this treat definitely satiates the craving for textures of the pastry kind. It’s basically a pound cake usually served at Christmas feasts shared by families.

4. Tau Huay
Served either hot or cold, this treat known as soya beancurd is made from boiled soy bean milk and a coagulant. It is cooled to a certain extent to achieve its pudding form, ready for serving.

5. Tau Suan
Basically made from split mung beans, this treat proves to be an efficient comfort food. Served hot, this treat has fried You Tiao or dough fritters complementing it with texture. This treat is prepared by boiling split mung beans with pandan, condensed with potato flour.

6. Pulut Hitam
Prepared by simmering black glutinous rice mixed with coconut milk and Gula Melaka or palm sugar, this treat is sure to have captured the hearts of locals and tourists alike. Known for its nutty flavor, it will sure give you that crazy kick of energy after a great meal.

7. Orh Nee
The main star of this treat is yam paste, which is first fried then blended. A smooth consistency lets you know you’ve blended it just right. Typically, ginkgo nuts and pumpkin accompany this treat to enhance its flavor and texture.

It goes without saying that almost every great meal needs a dessert to punctuate it with. No matter how tasty the main course is, the dessert always has the final say. So for those looking for the sugar rush they crave for, Singapore has local delicacies ready to tickle your taste buds giddy.

5 Instagram-Ready Spots in the Lion City

We live in a day and age where beauty is not only appreciated as it is, but is mandatory to snap a shot or two to decorate our feeds. Our online selves deserve a beautiful photo once in a while, and both locals and tourists alike can’t help but fill feeds with the beauty Singapore has to offer.

1. Public Transport
To start the list is one which our eyes have grown accustomed to yet never fail to tease our creative right lobes. With the lines and the right amount of grays, public transport stations of Singapore have monochrome patrons coming back for more shots – in different angles and poses.

2. Toa Payoh Playground or Dragon Playground
Who says we outgrow playgrounds? This spot offers colorful and sand-contrasted shots for photography enthusiasts. Singapore actually has four dragon playgrounds yet this remains the only one with sand. The others are dubbed with rubber play mats for added protection to kids. The dragon playground was spearheaded by the Housing and Development Board’s efforts way back 1979, with the Oriental dragon as model.

3. MCI Building
Those looking to add more color to their feeds should definitely pay the MCI building a visit. The vivid colors of green, red, yellow and blue partnered with sturdy walls of the building will surely gain a lot of good shots. Located along the Civic District trail, this infrastructure will surely leave your camera roll dripping with color.

4. Raffles Marina Lighthouse
If a touch of prestige is what you’re looking for in your photos, drop by Singapore’s Raffles Marina Lighthouse. Not only will your photos have that laid-back vacation vibe, but more importantly a tinge of these water-borne structures to contrast your in-land usuals. Nothing like a tinge of nature to balance all the infrastructures the life in the city has.

5. CHIJMES
This picturesque area of a complex of convent buildings is located in the heart of the city. It first started as a Catholic convent named as the Convent of the Holy Child Jesus (CHIJ). It was also called as Caldwell house, a convent quarters. An icon of history, religion and urbanized turn of the times, CHIJMES once served as a convent for 132 years. Today, the chapel is called the CHIJMES Hall, serving as a multi-purpose hall. The Caldwell House is now an art gallery, proving a convenient spot to visit for art enthusiasts.

We all have means and media with which to capture beauty we are blessed to enjoy today. Gadgets, camera, and such technological advancements all prove to be handy extensions of our mind’s eye in remembering spots that take our breath away.

Just don’t forget to put those down once in a while and indulge in the scene with our best gadget: our eyes.

You’re Not Truly East Asian Until You’ve Tried These Local Delicacies

Although there is a long list of iconic East Asian dishes (Dumplings or a Maki Roll, anyone?), there are also some local East Asian delicacies which silently fade in the background. Mere cultural delicacies truly reflect the richness of the East Asian palate. Perhaps you grew up eating some of these, or at least have heard of it from a friend who recently backpacked across the region.

They might not be as popular on a global scale, but they compose the unique East Asian flavors and taste.

Century egg – A more popular and common Chinese delicacy, century eggs are made from preserved duck or quailed eggs which is submerged in a saline solution for months long. The process gives the egg a creamy, jelly texture. But hey, at least it still tastes like your regular egg!

Chicken feet – Grilled and marinated chicken feet is popular among countries like South Korea and the Philippines. It tastes like your usual chicken, but it highlights the flavorful marinated skin and its chewy tendons. If anything, eating the dish can be considered a textural experience.

Bird’s nest soup – This is one popular dish in Chinese restaurants. Basically, it is a soup made of cooked bird spit. Swiftlets, which are common birds in China, are known to build their hard nests from their own gummy saliva. This ingredient is considered so rare that it is unsurprisingly expensive – but it is also rich in iron, potassium, calcium, and magnesium, so why not?

Natto – A nutritious Japanese dish, Natto is well-loved by children and adults alike. It is composed of fermented soybeans which infamously reeks (the scent is often compared to dirty, old socks). This is a common breakfast option served along with rice.

Durian – This fruit is branded in Southeast Asia as the King of Fruits because of its thorny husk, which can be likened to a crown. However, it is also notorious for its foul stench. A lot of hotels in the region even ban the fruit from being brought inside hotel rooms. If you can stand the penetrating smell, you’ll find that Durian tastes creamy and sweet!

Fish cake – A popular street food in Korea, skewered fish cake is well-loved by hungry people on the go. It is commonly made of processed seafood meat such as that of ground white fish. Fish cake can also be served in broth, which is perfect for the cold winter nights.

Best of Stephen King: 5 Horror Books to Read

October is the month of Halloween. You don’t really have to carve a pumpkin just to feel the Halloween vibes, nor is there a need for you to dress up all spooky for the event. This hauntingly exciting celebration is the perfect time for you to do simple activities like binge-watching cult classic Horror movies and reading up on suspense stories.

Who knows, curling up in home while reading a good Stephen King book may just be your perfect Halloween celebration yet. Stock up on hot chocolate and prepare your favorite blanket to accompany you through the long night.

The Shining
You might have seen the 1980 film directed by Stanley Kubrick, but the book version of The Shining certainly has more heart than its on-screen adaptation. The story revolves around Jack Torrance, whose life was falling apart as he loses his mind to the Overlook Hotel. It also explores the suffering and the abuse Torrance’s family endured.

It
Are you a big fan of clowns? If not, you might as well brace yourself while reading this book. It involves Pennywise, a demented clown who lives in the town’s sewers and is responsible for a chain of child murders in the area. The book has caused a lot of readers to go frantic and fear clowns, and it has a recent movie adaptation released in the later part of 2017.

The Stand
This post-apocalyptic story begins with a deadly virus (called Captain Trips), which wipes out 99 percent of the planet. Survivors come together and divide themselves within two camps – and later ends with an ultimate war between good against evil, the last stand. There are lots of story lines to follow and in the process, it is inevitable for you to root for more than one character.

Salem’s Lot
Vampires are commonly portrayed in mainstream media as sparkling, gorgeous creatures, but the vampires in Salem’s Lot are nothing but violent and terrifying. This book contains palpable tension which builds up with each new chapter, and it plays around with the element of a small-town setting and the theme of isolation.

If you’ve ever wondered what would vampires look like in a contemporary society, then this book must be on your to-read list.

The Dead Zone
This book centers on the life of school teacher Johnny Smith, who wakes up with psychic abilities after a coma. He then meets a deranged politician whom he knows is destined to become the next president – and thus places him in a conflicting position as to whether he should assassinate him. The book has a 1983 movie version starring Christopher Walken and Martin Sheen.

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